Microsoft Addresses Search Privacy

    December 15, 2009
    Chris Crum

Sree Kamireddy, Bing Program Manager and self-proclaimed "Privacy Champ" has written a post on the Bing blog discussing how Microsoft handles your Bing search history information. More specifically, Kamireddy explains how this is actually in users’ hands.

Kamireddy explains that Bing Offers the following:

Off/On switch:  With one click, you can choose to turn history on or off directly on the search results page or, if you’re returning, on the homepage. About to perform a search that you don’t want to remember as part of your history? Just click Turn off and new searches are no longer remembered.  Want to get back to building your search history? You can just as easily turn it back on. Your on/off state will be maintained indefinitely, as long as you don’t clear your browser cookies.

Transparency:  Click See all to get a complete view of the history data that Bing is storing for you. For this release, you’ll find all queries you make using our web search and the sites you click associated with that query. We’ll be checking customer feedback to see what additional information might make search history more useful, and how to better expose it to our customers.

Control: Too many systems provide us with choice, but little control.  We’ve created Bing Search history with multiple layers of control.  You can remove your entire search history right on the search results page or on the homepage (just click Clear all). For finer-grained control, you can delete individual queries or sites from your history by clicking See all and then removing individual items from your history. You can also clear your entire search history directly from that page. Once you delete an item, it’s gone – it won’t appear in search history again.

Bing Search History

Search History on Bing is available for four weeks at this point. Removing history removes it from the actual service and prevents the history from being displayed on the site, but it doesn’t actually delete the info from Microsoft’s search logs.

The search logs are retained and anonymized as described in the Bing Supplement to the Microsoft Online Privacy Statement. Bing stores searches users make separately from any account information that directly identifies them, such as email address, phone number, etc.

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